Wall Street Watch this Week: iPad Mini vs. Microsoft Surface

Surface tabletIt's time to talk tablets. Apple (AAPL) is expected to introduce a new tablet and Microsoft (MSFT) definitely will begin selling its Surface device this week.

Apple will naturally be the company generating the most attention. It has scheduled a press event for Tuesday, and analysts generally believe that this will be when the world's most valuable tech company shows off a smaller version of the iPad.

Wait. Don't we have that already? Isn't an iPod touch merely a downsized iPad? That may be true, but this will be a mid-sized device that's closer in size to the successful Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 with seven-inch screens.

Pricing will be important. It can't be as cheap as the iPod touch. It can't be as expensive as the iPad itself. If Apple goes too high the product will fail against the countless seven-inch tablets selling for $200 or less. If Apple prices the device too low it will eat into full-sized iPad sales.

It's a tricky situation, but obviously Apple's been thinking about this for a long time.

Microsoft's Surface is a full-sized tablet that hits retailers on Friday. Beyond the keyboard that doubles as a cover and attaches magnetically, one thing that may draw buyers is that the tablet comes with a preview version of Microsoft Office. The software giant's suite of productivity software isn't currently available on other tablets.

Other Things Worth Watching

• Mutual funds are vital investments, even for seasoned investors that prefer to assemble their own collection of stocks and bonds. However, the industry itself is in a bind. The popularity of ETFs -- or exchange-traded funds -- has eaten into the popularity of traditional mutual funds. It also doesn't help that ETFs are engaged in a price war as expense ratios continue to shrink. We'll get a good snapshot of the industry itself as some of the fund family operators -- T. Rowe Price (TROW), Legg Mason (LM), and Franklin Resources (BEN) -- report their latest quarterly results.

• Comcast (CMCSA) reports toward the end of the week. The country's leading cable provider has seen several quarters of declining video customers. However, it has been more than making up for that by growing its broadband and telephone services. Then again, now that it also owns NBCUniversal, Comcast offers investors a way to take the pulse of the entire TV industry.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft and a bull call spread position in Apple.

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I think this will be big if people can separate from their iOS security blankets. I have used both iOS and Win8 (in beta), and I personally think Win8 is better. But then again, I'm a Windows person, so my conclusion may have roots in bias.

October 22 2012 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Constant bashing for the sake of bashing is annoying. How about some valid differences to help people pick out the best device. This would be helpful. So you hate Microsoft, or Apple-then dont buy the products, but don't go on a rampage at every opportunity to blast you views. Give specific valid reasons, not emotional general opinions that have not real place here.

October 22 2012 at 4:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Both are not very exciting. The ipad mini will be pretty boring and compared to established better quality 7 inch android tablets with for sure better pricing these will be bought by already existing apple customers not gaining new ones for apple so that means the ipad will drop in sales numbers. The microsoft offering has 2 huge drawbacks. First it will run the god awful ugly windows 8 metro ui that has all but been shunned by long time windows users and then Microsoft has out priced itsself from its customer base as windows users are not as gullible and dumb as the apple consumer and will not pay the ultra high price Microsoft has placed on these tablets.

October 22 2012 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would NEVER buy another product containing an MS operating system. I crash once or twice every morning with MS Crap on my computer.

October 22 2012 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Microsoft OS is no longer relevant on any device and they only have a small handful of apps. Businesses are well aware that employees are no longer using Microsoft products"

Yeah... That's totally not true. Although the Macintosh is easier to use, if you look at what OS anyone who is tech-savvy is running, it will likely be Windows 7. The problem with the apps will be fixed withing weeks. I personally have been developing my app for 4 weeks and it is almost ready to be unveiled. And I don't know where you got the 'fact' that no one uses Microsoft products. At the very least, you must admit that Microsoft Office dominates all in its category.

October 22 2012 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't want to be part of the pricey Apple universe, so don't care about iPads in any size. Microsoft OS is no longer relevant on any device and they only have a small handful of apps. I am getting ready to purchase a computer and will probably go with some form of Android OS. Maybe an ASUS Transformer Infinity (if I want something in the iPad price range) if I decide on a large form or a smaller Samsung Note 2 if I want a 7 inch form (and they sell for less than $199).
Businesses are well aware that employees are no longer using Microsoft products and are developing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies (Google and Yahoo already have these in place).

October 22 2012 at 9:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply